Joint Statement – Impending cuts to persons with developmental disabilities (PDD): Excessive and threatening
CALGARY, May 14, 2013 /CNW/ – Alberta Association for Community Living (AACL), Alberta Council of Disability Services (ACDS) and Alberta Disability Workers Association (ADWA), who together represent almost the entirety of the community who rely on PDD funding, – families and their family members with developmental disabilities, service providers and support staff – have joined together to express our mutual concerns. The reduction in PDD funding of minimally $60 million is the largest cut in the Government’s current budget – close to twice the size of the 7% cut required of post-secondary institutions; the largest cut ever imposed on individuals with developmental disabilities in Alberta’s history.
It may still be weeks before individuals with developmental disabilities and their families are even informed as to their reduction in supports and still time would be needed to consider the implications; with the cuts to be implemented at the end of June. For many, Alberta’s cold winter will begin this year on July 1. The depth of the reduction in funding is one that we believe is not manageable and will result in the safety, well-being and security of individuals with developmental disabilities being compromised.
Collectively we are supportive of Government’s interest in having individuals with developmental disabilities leading more inclusive and productive lives. However, this will not be possible under the current circumstances and in fact, progressive change may be set back further than ever. Contrary to the understanding of many that this crisis is precipitated by a cut to community access funding, this is incorrect; as most of the community access funding has been distributed to other line items. The single overriding issue is the total and overwhelming reduction in PDD funding to be implemented in the last three-quarters of the fiscal year. PDD funding reductions are based on an arbitrary formula that will impact thousands across much of their lives.
We wish to be clear that even a limited infusion of additional funding will only delay this unmanageable reduction and not eliminate the actual overwhelming impact. The current funding reductions will push the persons with developmental disabilities community into crisis mode, increase vulnerabilities and inhibit progress for possibly years to come.
We urgently call upon the Alberta Government, as it is done recently in accommodating physicians, post-secondary students and tuition, and pharmacists, to allocate sufficient funds to sustain existing supports and services to Albertans with developmental disabilities and their families as the means to advance the needed change we are all committed to achieving.
For further information:
Alberta Association for Community Living
Alberta Council of Disability Services
Alberta Disability Workers Association
ADWA, Coordination & Communications Director